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i think it by and large was true, they were trying to prove that they deserved to be americans, it prove to the country that we belonged here, that we didn't belong behind these barbed wire fences. and they did. they did that and they paid with their blood. i think that was sort of the general feeling of the community. our brothers, our fathers, our uncles, our sons, paid with their blood, literally, not figuratively, literally, so that we could be americans and live our lives and get out of camp and just go about our ways. so i think it's because it was such a heightened state and so much like -- to do with life and death that those who -- and they were in a minority who had signed no no were treated as if they had, in fact, kind of turned on their own people. their brothers went off to war
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and died trying to prove we were loyal and here you did something which made us look disloyal. here you did something which made us look bad. so as a consequence of your bad behavior, maybe more boys had to die. maybe we had to work even harder. but i think it was because of the extreme circumstance of the time and the stakes were incredibly high that you did have a community that looked at these men as if they had, in fact, turned against their own community and had worked against those who had served and died. and that was the case. i know it's still a problem now. i have a friend who is a no no boy and he talks about how, even now, 60-something years later, there are people in the community who won't talk to him because he was a no no boy.
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but, again, it's through the lens of present day politics, how we've begun to look at the events and studied them that the resistors from heart mountain who were another group who on constitutional grounds contested being -- serving. they refused to serve, as opposed to the no no boys, who signed no no. the resistors actually went to federal prisons. they went to leavenworth. they are now looked at and studied and interviewed in a much different light, even though in the community itself there is still strong feelings and deviciveness about how they should be viewed. a lot of my research was pulled from the no no boys and resistors was pulled from the japanese american national museum. my wife and i went down there and they have on file a bunch of interviews with people, frank ami, a variety of folks who were part of the heart mountain resistors and also the no no boys.
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these interviews were done by frank chen, frank abe and other folks and they are all on file. i used those to make sure i created real live characters. hope that answers the question. >> who else wants to ask a question? . >> when you do research, are you able to compare the (inaudible). >> i have to admit i haven't done as much research into that area because there were germans also who went through the same thing and no i didn't. that certainly is a story that should be looked into. i know in my early works, a character would say why didn't they do this to the germans and italians but at the time i wrote this play, i wasn't aware that the other things were going on in the country also. so i don't know a lot about
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that. . >> is there any one or any group that you studied in particular for your sort of art piece japanese artist character? . >> no, but i feel like i sort of have it inside of me, my body, that i've actually played this type of character in one of my films where he wears very odd glasses and has a bow tie and fashions himself as a bit of an intellectual. he actually represents a kind of character that you do find in the community and in communities, someone who is sort of outside of it, marginalized, who is part of the community yet he's never fit in. he's a bachelor. his interests are very un-japanese american. he can't find relationships
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with a female, he's been introduced by the marriage broker and it doesn't work. but in fact his character, if he were in present-day society, he would be gay. it's sort of interesting and in fact the character whom i wrote it for, gregory wallace, is a gay actor. it's sort of interesting, francis jew, who plays him now, is gay. but you have a type of character who at a particular point in history had to sort of play out a different role but if he were in present day society, he would be, you know, gay and living life and going about his business. so that is sort of interesting about that character. . >> yes, gentleman here. . >> do you think with all the writing and examination of relocation camps that the country has actually learned
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from the experience, what it's done to the extent that it wouldn't happen again? . >> like arab americans? you know, i'd like to think i could say yes, but i would think not. though in fact there is more information out there and more people know about the internment camps than ever before, it certainly seems evident to me that at least in certain like individual cases it's still going on and that, you know, certainly after post-911 in relationship to arab and muslim americans, gee. but my response would be i don't think we have learned, unfortunately. . >> i think we have time for one
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more question. >> i think this is a great subject but because of the education, we have so much (inaudible) i think so many people have no idea of what happened in the internment and at least we're talking. >> well, you know what's interesting is the exhibit and the project that ruth was talking about, and that's upstairs and which i participated in, what made it so moving was the idea that you had young san francisco students who were not japanese american, who were african american, who were a variety of folks who were aware of the experience and in some way were
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making it part of their own life, exactly what we're talking about. how do you make something that happened 65 years ago relevant to young people today so that there is something to be learned from it, that there is something that can be taken from it. that's what's so interesting about the exhibition. it's called if they came for us today -- am i saying it correctly? if they came for me today? which is a great, great title. that accomplishes that. because that's the key to me, how do you take an event that happened 65 years ago that was so important in terms of american history -- that's the thing, it's such a critical moment where the constitution was really tested. how do you keep it relevant in terms of its history to today and make sure that in some way it's related to cases like the aaron watata case or what
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happens after post-911? that to me is the tricky thing is how do you keep it alive and my hope is with the play that in some way it takes an incident, an event that happened, at least in my case it's 1948, the story that i tell, that it has relevancy to today in terms of how people can get along with each other. the most basic terms, ultimately can people from different backgrounds really get along with push comes to shove. when bottom lines are drawn, can you in fact make that bridge and get across that, quote, racial and cultural divide that is so, so deeply embedded in those of us who live in this particular generation. i feel like my generation, i have lived in a world that is so racialized that as much as intellectually i'd lake to think of a society where all of us could just be, i can't see it in my own head. when i look at younger folks and how they interact and how
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they go about their way and their life, i have hope. but certainly in my own sort of generation, in my life line, my timeline, my lens of the country is very much a highly racialized one. >> thank you for coming and thanks very much to phillip.
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>> [applause]. we have a very special guest. [inaudible] is here with us tonight. [inaudible] dancing. step dancing which we are familiar with. you may have seen this before. this will be a treat. [applause].
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>> someone once told me this was from scandanavia. this is a different version. about 2 sisters that fall in love with the same guy. it didn't work out too well. one of the sisters throws another one into the raging water. he fashions her body into a fiddle, into a violin. this is the actual violin. i love her so much.
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[singing] [music playing]
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[applause] [music playing]
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[applause] knew

December 28, 2012 1:00am-1:30am PST

TOPIC FREQUENCY Us 3, Us Look 2, Frank Abe 1, Frank Chen 1, Gregory Wallace 1, Scandanavia 1, Frank Ami 1, Aaron Watata 1, San Francisco 1, Marginalized 1, Leavenworth 1, Francis 1
Network SFGTV2
Duration 00:30:00
Scanned in San Francisco, CA, USA
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 89 (615 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 544
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color